O Come O Come, Emmanuel (Luke 2:1-14)


In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:1-14)

See also John 1:11-12

Christmas celebrates the coming of Jesus Christ into the world as the Redeemer of all mankind. John tells us that He came into His own world, and His own people (the Jewish nation) received him not. But whoever did receive Him, “to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:11, 12).

Jesus came into the world in order to come into our hearts as Saviour. We need to remember that a Christian is one in whom Christ dwells. As Paul puts it, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

In this study I wish to examine some interesting parallels between Christ coming into the world and His coming into our heart.

The Silence of His Coming (Luke 2:1-7)

Phillips Brooks, the author of the song, “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” writes in his third verse,

“How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming; but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.”

The Lord of glory entered the realm of His material creation with scarcely a ripple! What a contrast between the Creator’s arrival on earth and that of man’s first arrival on the moon. Millions of excited people watched the televised moon landing. Only a few people heard about the Creator’s arrival on earth.

When the Lord of glory enters the human heart, it is not usually with attendant storms of proof. Just as at His first coming to earth, so at His entrance into your heart, He silently makes His entry when you by faith ask Him to do so.

The Selectivity of His Coming (Luke 2:8-9)

To whom did Jesus appear? For the most part, the people associated with His birth were very ordinary and commonplace people. The announcement was not made to kings, emperors, or princes. It is made to lowly shepherds. It is primarily to the ordinary and commonplace people that Jesus comes in salvation.

Paul says, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” (1 Corinthians 1:26).

Why is it that not many mighty or noble are called? God certainly desires that the mighty and the noble be saved. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God is not willing that any should perish. The answer must lie in the probable truth that most of the mighty and noble do not have a sense of need for God.

Paul says, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Self-sufficiency, pride, and preoccupation with the things of this life keep many from opening their hearts to Jesus. Wesley, like the apostles, found that his preaching did not greatly affect the mighty nor the noble, yet he was able to find a great many among the masses who were willing to open their hearts to Jesus.

God’s Word declares that many are called, but few are chosen. Although all may respond to the coming of Christ, relatively few do respond to His coming.

The Significance of His Coming (Luke 2:10-12)

Although Jesus came as a babe to Bethlehem, He came as the promised Messiah, the Saviour of all people. According to Floyd Hamilton (The Basis of Christian Faith), there are 332 Old Testament predictions about the coming Saviour that were perfectly fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.

There are 332 Old Testament predictions about the coming Saviour that were perfectly fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.

These predictions include the place of His birth (Micah 5:2), the time of his birth (Gen. 49:10; Daniel 9:25), the manner of His birth (Isaiah 7:14), as well as predictions of His betrayal, death and resurrection.

These 332 predictions were written over 450 years before Jesus was born.

Peter Stoner (Science Speaks) picked eight of the 332 predictions and ran a statistical analysis to determine the odds that one person could accidentally fulfill them. His conclusion was that there was one chance in a billion billion.

To illustrate the significance of that number, Mr. Stoner stated that a billion billion silver dollars would cover the state of Texas two feet deep.

The chance that a person could accidentally qualify for eight of the 332 predictions is the same chance a person would have of finding a marked silver dollar if he were blindfolded, and told to find the marked silver dollar—on his first try.

Jesus fulfilled more than eight predictions. He fulfilled all 332. This is beyond accidental coincidence. Without a doubt, Jesus is the promised Messiah and Saviour of the world. Have you opened your heart and welcomed Him in as your Saviour?

The Singing That Accompanied His Coming (Luke 2:13-14)

I would love to have been there. It must have been an exciting “Sight and Sound” show! A multitude of the heavenly host appeared, praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:13, 14). Could it have been something like Handel’s Messiah? Only with a choir of a thousand-fold?

A great angelic festivity occurs in heaven whenever a person repents of his sins and opens his heart to Jesus Christ. Luke 15:10 tells us that angels rejoice in the presence of God each time a person is saved. This rejoicing may be in the form of singing.

Singing often functions as a mirror of the soul. When Jesus comes into one’s heart, He brings forgiveness of sin; the healing, life-giving power of His presence; and the joy of being adopted into the family of God. As a result, we find ourselves often singing praises to His name.

Do the songs that really thrill you carry the melody of love for the Sovereign God who gave us the precious gift of His Son, Jesus? Let Jesus come into your life today with the melodies of Heaven that will bring songs of victory and praise to your heart and to your lips.

The Sharing With Others the Good News of His Coming (Luke 2:15-20)

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.” (Luke 2:16-18).

There was no way that the shepherds could conceal the good news of the birth of the promised Messiah. Everywhere they went they told others!
Just as it was with the shepherds of long ago, so it is today with everyone who has received Jesus into His heart as Lord and Saviour.

There is no way we can conceal the good news of His life, love, hope and power to save. Everywhere we go, the desire to share this good news burns within our breasts, just as it did with those who first found the Christ child.

May we always be able to declare with the Apostle Paul, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16, 17).

This is the attitude and action we must exhibit, not only at this Christmas season, but throughout the entire year. Everywhere you go, tell the good news that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Saviour of all mankind. Tell of His great mercies to you personally, and to the children of men.

We rejoice in more than His birth. We rejoice in the finished plan of redemption. Whoever will receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour can know the joy of sins forgiven. What wonderful news to share with others!

We rejoice in more than His birth. We rejoice in the finished plan of redemption

Tell of His great mercies to you personally, and to the children of men. We rejoice in more than His birth. We rejoice in the finished plan of redemption. Whoever will receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour can know the joy of sins forgiven. What wonderful news to share with others!

Invite Him Into Your Heart

We have already experienced the coming of Jesus into the world. Have you experienced the coming of Jesus Christ into your heart? John tells us in Revelation 3:20 that Jesus is standing at your heart’s door, knocking. If you will open the door and invite Him in as your Lord and Saviour, He will come in and establish a personal relation ship with you.

The song writer wrote:

Into my heart, into my heart,
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.
Come in today, Come in to stay,
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.

Has He come into your heart? If you are not sure, why not bow your head and ask Him to do so right now. Admit that you are a sinner. Ask Jesus to forgive you of all your sins, and then open your heart’s door and invite Him in as your Lord and Saviour.



Originally published in God’s Revivalist. Used by permission.

Allan Brown
Allan Brown
Dr. Allan Brown is Professor and Chair of the Division of Ministerial Education at God's Bible School & College. He holds his PhD in Old Testament Interpretation from Bob Jones University and is the author of several books and articles.